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Little Did I Know: A Novel Hardcover – September 27, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Prospecta Press; First Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935212575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935212577
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,988,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly


Little Did I Know Mitchell Maxwell Prospecta Press (Perseus, dist.), $25 (336p) ISBN 978-1-935212-57-7 In Broadway producer Maxwell's debut novel, set in 1976, a rental ad for America's oldest summer stock theater in Plymouth, Mass. tempts Samuel August to try to fulfill his dream of producing classic musicals. Enlisting the financial and moral support of friends proves simple compared to dealing with Dr. Anderson Barrows, the theater's wealthy elderly owner and his seductive young wife Lizzy (who hits on Sam). To produce five full-length musicals with only nine days of rehearsal, Sam immerses himself in the Herculean task of physically restoring the theater and landscape, auditioning cast members, coping with outsized egos, and igniting creative fires in his actors. Further challenges include sham building inspectors demanding excessive fees, Lizzy's chameleon acts, encounters with a pack of raccoons, weather crises, along with the hopeful distraction of a romance with a local beauty. Although the book's pedestrian pace may deter many readers, those who persevere will appreciate the reality of stage productions and applaud a far-wiser Sam by the end. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2011


From Library Journal:
It’s the summer of America’s bicentennial (1976) and a time for living out dreams for a spunky group of friends. Sam August has spent his college career falling in love with theater and jumps at a chance to lease a summer playhouse in Plymouth, MA. Gathering up a motley crew of highly talented classmates is easy; dealing with the capricious theater owners is another matter. Between bizarre threats and attempted seductions, Sam and his friends leap over every obstacle, even while consuming prodigious amounts of alcohol. VERDICT Debut novelist Maxwell’s credits as a Broadway producer include Blues in the Night and Dinner with Friends and revivals of Damn Yankees and Bells Are Ringing. This time he has produced a high-rolling romp from start to finish, in which you expect the characters to burst into song and dance at any moment. More of a lighthearted Anything Goes than a darker Company, it should appeal to readers seeking a little escape into worlds where dreams come true.—Jan Blodgett, Davidson, NC


Little Did I Know that Mitchell Maxwell’s first novel could be as titillating and epic as his award winning, tumultuous theater career. It’s an unforgettable summer, chockablock with passionate love, small town corruption and unbridled determination. This book is truly too good to be true, but it is! -- Jeff Calhoun Tony nominated choreographer and director of the world premiere of Disney’s High School Musical


“With wit and wile reminiscent of Moss Hart’s seminal Act One, Maxwell spins a tale of theatre in the provinces that will entertain, amuse, beguile, and inevitably move you.”
– Frederick Zollo, Tony-nominated producer for That Championship
Season and ‘night Mother.

About the Author

Mitchell Maxwell is an accomplished producer, director and 35-year veteran of the entertainment industry, known for his ability to spot the next theatrical innovation. He is the visionary producer behind the percussive theatricality of Stomp!, the rollicking Broadway revival of Damn Yankees featuring the legendary Jerry Lewis – which was nominated for multiple Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical – and the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Dinner with Friends.
Maxwell’s productions have been honored with nominations for ten Tony Awards, six Olivier Awards, 15 Outer Critics Circle Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards and three Obie Awards and have won in each category. In addition to Damn Yankees, Dinner with Friends, and Stomp! (currently celebrating its 16th smash year) he has produced the Broadway musicals Play On!, Bells are Ringing (also Tony-nominated for Best Revival of a Musical) and Brooklyn. He directed the critically acclaimed Angry Housewives on London’s West end and later off-Broadway, and produced the motion pictures and off-Broadway performances of Jeffrey and Key Exchange. Off-Broadway he produced Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, and David Mamet’s Oleanna and Once Around the Sun – in total seven Broadway shows, more than 30 off-Broadway and regional productions, four national tours, three West End productions and six major motion pictures. He has directed in New York, London and regionally, built five entertainment companies, and has owned and operated three off-Broadway theaters.
Maxwell attended Tufts University, where he later served as an adjunct professor, and has been a guest lecturer at Columbia and New York universities.


More About the Author

Mitchell Maxwell is an accomplished Broadway producer, director having produced 7 Broadway shows, 30+ off Broadway shows and 6 major motion pictures. You might recognize some of his shows which included the rollicking Broadway revival of Damn Yankees featuring the legendary Jerry Lewis - which was nominated for multiple Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical - and the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Dinner with Friends. Other credits include the Broadway musicals Play On! Bells are Ringing, Blues in the Night and Brooklyn, and the percussive theatrical wonder, Stomp! He produced the motion pictures and off-Broadway productions of Jeffrey and Key Exchange. Maxwell's productions have been nominated for - and won - almost every theatrical award out there including the Tony, Drama Desk, Out Critics circle, Obie an Ovation awards, multiple times over. Today he is the president, CCO and director of MCrew Media LLC. LITTLE DID I KNOW is his first novel.

Customer Reviews

I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys an entertaining read about life's quirks; and any fans of GLEE.
The Paperback Pursuer
Though I was pleased that it went into a little more detail towards the end, it still covered most of the behind-the-scenes stuff in a few sentences here or there.
Catherine
I found the characters to be very real and their relationships with each other, quite lucid and fully developed.
CT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Star @ The Bibliophilic Book Blog on October 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Big dreams and real life collide in Mr. Maxwell's first novel, Little Did I Know. Sam August goes to Plymouth, Mass to produce musicals in the oldest summer stock theatre. He's there first to scope everything out before his college friends and colleagues in theater come up. He runs into some big fish in a little pond and a girl who could change everything.

Reading a lot like a memoir, Little Did I Know is an intriguing foray into the world of theater and life in the 70's. Entertaining and quirky, Mr. Maxwell draws you into the trials and tribulations Sam faces while he looks to learn the ropes of production and ultimately life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kccam on November 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maxwell has created a hero who is super tall, athletic, bright, articulate, talented, and good-looking. He's surrounded him with friends who are incredibly gifted, sexy, devoted, and wealthy enough to light cigars with hundred dollar bills.
Obstacles and threats, no matter how great, are overcome with a song and dance, a long winded speech, and on occasion -- a fist fight that reads as if it were lifted from an Elvis movie.
The free Kindle sample I read was the best part of the book. Once I'd bought the full version the quality of the story, and my interest, steadily declined until I got to the point of being angry at the laziness of the writing, the ridiculousness of the situations and their resolve, and the cartoonish way the characters were drawn.
A good book leaves me feeling exhilarated while reading, and ultimately sad to see the story end. This book left me constantly checking the page count to see how much longer I would have to endure, and more than happy it was all over when I finally reached that final page.
In the end, it did remind me of experiences had in summer stock, but only of the times I was cornered and forced to listen to an actor go on... and on... and on... about his favorite subject -- himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Latoya on March 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This work is full of drama and excitement, it was a good read though the pace for me was slow. But in the business of show business you have to finish big, keep them coming back for more and this book is full of life lessons. It's about young Sam August becoming a man and pursuing his dreams and in the process teaching others how to do the same. He is great character with a quick temper, but a big heart and passion. It is that passion that gives him a hot head but also brings about his growth, as he comes to realize to think before he reacts to a situation regardless if he feels it is right, and for the good of everyone involved. He has some interesting antagonists in Dr. Barrows and his precocious wife Lizzy Barrows who are out to kill his dream with their corruption and deceit. Now, it's not all seriousness and there times I giggled from the humor that Maxwell so craftily weaved within the text. My favorite scene has something to do raccoons, and that is all I'm going to say...there are other moments that made me laugh but that one truly stands out. This book is full of very colorful characters that each have a different level of depth, and circumstances. Overall, a good read about growing up, overcoming obstacles and following your dreams.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Paperback Pursuer on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Description:
Written by award-winning Broadway director and producer Mitchell Maxwell, Little Did I Know is a first-time novel loosely based on Maxwell's early career. After college, in the summer of 1976, Sam August travels to Plymouth, Massachusetts to follow his dream of directing musicals out of an old theater. Little does he know, that putting on a show and running a business can be a crazy ordeal, filled with unexpected twists and turns - just like life. Not only does he have to deal with living in the 70's, but also with new relationships, business propositions, bills, schedules, rehearsals, love, and a couple of mischievous raccoons. Will his plans succeed? Or will they be crushed by reality? Either way, it will be a summer he won't soon forget.

Review:
First-off, I have to say that I am a fan of Broadway plays and musicals, so once I heard about this book, I had to jump on the chance to read it. For a first novel, Mitchell Maxwell does an amazing job with his characters and level of detail. By the end of chapter ten, (the chapters are the perfect short-length), I had a pretty good idea who everyone was, what everything looked like, and how everyone acted. His characters are very well-developed, and the dialogue isn't stressed; but I wish that there wouldn't have been as many 70's cliches involved. I found most of the novel very entertaining, but for a book about Sam's dream of directing, the reader never really sees a full rehearsal. Overall, I loved the plot, (although predictable in some spots), and the humorous twists and turns kept my nose in the book. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys an entertaining read about life's quirks; and any fans of GLEE.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this ARC from Book Trib, (Prospecta Press), in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book Sake VINE VOICE on October 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If anyone out there enjoys the theater, musical especially, you need to read this book. I am not sure the last time I wanted to go see a musical this badly, and it is all because of this story. I didn't always understand the nuances of the time period, 1976, but the theater family is one that I understand very well. This book did such a great job of portraying the family aspect, as well as the individual relationships between these characters, that you feel like you are living with them in this barn theater in Plymouth. I actually laughed out loud during many parts, especially the chapter with the raccoons, and I got teary eyed towards the end. As I read, I felt like I was watching live theater and you experience the run of your emotions in a similar fashion. I know of at least 4 people that need to read this book, but really anyone that likes a feel good, fun, but poignant story will enjoy Little Did I Know. I didn't get the "coming of age" feel in this story, so much as "coming into their own" as human beings, since really it shows how a group of young people were able to accomplish so much with many of the odds against them. The authors writing style is fluid, and easy to read, actually entertaining in many chapters as if he is portraying a scene being acted out on stage. I can't really say enough good things about this novel, I have a feeling it will be a success!

Reviewed by Gabi for Book Sake.
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